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Doyle, Simon schedule debates

By Staff | Sep 4, 2010

CHARLES TOWN – The Democratic and Republican candidates for West Virginia House of Delegates’ 57th District announced Tuesday on the steps of the Jefferson County Courthouse that they will hold two debates leading up to the November election.

Republican Elliot Simon is challenging incumbent Democrat John Doyle for the House district that covers the northern tier of Jefferson County, including Shepherdstown, Harpers Ferry and part of the communities on Blue Ridge Mountain.

“Elliot Simon and I have agreed to two one-on-one debates, one hosted by him in the part of the district that is near him, and the other hosted by me in the part of the district that’s near me,” Doyle said. “Each of us will select a moderator for our ‘home debate.’ It’s sort of like a home-and-home series between two athletic teams.”

Simon is looking forward to debating key differences, such as taxes, between his and Doyle’s political philosophies.

“I think John and I will have a spirited debate,” Simon said. “I’m really looking forward to going one-on-one with John. I’m delighted that he consented to the debates and I think voters are going to have a very clear choice.”

Doyle agreed.

“We clearly have major policy differences about how the state of West Virginia should be run,” he said.

“I think it’s important the voters understand these differences so they can decide for themselves which way they want to go.”

The debates will take about 90 minutes each, with the candidates asking each other questions as well as taking questions from the audience. Each candidate will have two minutes to respond to questions and a one-minute rebuttal.

“We’re hoping it’s going to be more spontaneous than a lot of debates that you see,” Simon said.

“Since it’s just John and I, we want voters to get a real feel for who we are.”

While the candidates hope the debates will be spontaneous and spirited, they both want to stay focused on debating policy issues and political philosophies, not each other’s character.

“I have the utmost respect for John, I think he’s a good human being and I enjoy the repartee that we have,” Simon said.

“We just have our philosophical differences.”

Doyle echoed those sentiments.

“There’s nothing personal here, no way,” he said.

The Simon-hosted debate will take place at the Quality Hotel in Harpers Ferry on Sept. 30.

Doyle’s debate will be at the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies at Shepherd University on Oct. 18.

Both debates are open to the public and scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

There is no fee to attend either event.